In about two weeks I have a tough choice to make. The 2011 Candlelight Processional sign ups are in two weeks. The narrators have, mostly, been announced. This year the sign up process will be different. It's not longer going to be the "fastest fingers" contest that it has been over the last 8 years or so (or the days of the sign up lists posted in the mirrors of the rehearsal rooms before it was online). The new process they are testing this year is going to be random selection per part from everyone who signs up for that particular part. It will be more fair to those applying who really want to sing and can't make it to the computer at 8 o'clock on the dot and hopefully take out more of the "I'm just doing it for the tickets" people. I really do mean on the dot too. The 250 alto positions are filled by 8:10am. It's crazy.
Since we started the "fastest fingers" contest, I've always made it in. My information was always submitted before 8:01am. I've yet to miss performing in the Candlelight Processional, even in the year that I was so sick that I didn't get to actually sing in a single show. That all changed last year. Kirk and I took a road trip to Texas and back. During the final leg back home was the "fastest fingers" contest. We specifically picked a trusted named hotel that had free wifi so I could set up and be ready to enter said contest. Turns out this hotel had the worst wifi ever, and I ended up missing out on signing up. I was ticked to say the least. I ranted on Twitter about said hotel and did end up getting a free night stay out of it, but almost exactly a year later, we still haven't cashed in on the stay. I'm still not happy about missing out on the yearly holiday tradition, however it did make me take a step back and think about it.
After winning the "fastest fingers" contest, you then have to participate in 10 1.5 hour rehearsals, on your own time. That means coming out to Disney on your day off (when I'm already there 5 days a week, and it's an hour drive each way) or extending your already long work day another hour and a half, plus the travel time from your work location to the rehearsal location (that puts me into at least a 12 hour away from home day, if I get off close to the time the rehearsal starts). The rehearsals are also only held a few days a week, and, based off of 9 years of performing in the show, there aren't enough weeks to just pull off one rehearsal a week. For me that is a LOT of changing schedules around just to get in rehearsals. Then there are the shows, the show itself is only about 45 minutes but then you have to be there early in order to get checked in, get your robe, get lined up and then get on stage. Plus the early show is performed by itself, but the middle and late show are performed together. So if you opened, then ran over to get read for the middle and late show, you have a very long day. It's a VERY time consuming event. Don't get me wrong, I love PERFORMING in it every year, but I hate the drama that goes with all the rehearsals. The same music year after year, the same questions year after year, the same mistakes year after year.
It's such a hectic time of year anyway (especially if you work *in* the parks), it was almost a relief to not be in the show. To be able to sit back and watch the show instead of thinking "oh, I could have been up there tonight singing the show". I was able to do a lot more than I normally can at the holidays because I didn't have rehearsals and shows to schedule my life around. We also have some plans that I don't think that Candlelight Processional will benefit, and I really need to be selfish for this and look out for myself. I still have two weeks, but I think I know what my decision is going to be.